Sailing in Palatka

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With help from a staff of paddleboarders, surfers, environmental scientists, and a dog named Dillon, Kayak Amelia founders Jody and Ray Hetchka combine their love for outdoor sports with environmental conservation. Ray, a certified naturalist and self-described tree hugger, peppers guided kayak, bicycle, and paddleboard eco tours with facts on flora, fauna, and all the best smells circulating throughout the island's delicate ecosystem. In addition to guided tours, Kayak Amelia teaches paddleboard and kayak lessons, and leads fishing trips and overnight kayak excursions. Guests can sign up for tours, or rent equipment for the day, at Kayak Amelia's storefront, Y.B. Green's General Store, which carries eco-friendly gifts such as beeswax candles, carved bone necklaces, and clay-dyed clothing.

13030 Heckscher Dr
Jacksonville,
FL
US

The wind picks up over the St. Johns River, catching the sails of Cap'n Don Stokes's fleet of boats and propelling the vessels along the coastline, where sailing instructors point out ospreys perched in the trees as the sea stretches into the distance.

This natural revelry is thanks to The Sailboat Club, whose crew frees members from the responsibilities of boat ownership—such as maintenance, insurance, and renting slips—and grants unlimited sailing on a fleet of sailboats. Additionally, as an accredited training facility of the American Sailing Association, the club encompasses a team of instructors who teach lessons for all levels of sailors, ranging from those who just noticed wind to experienced sailors seeking a captain's license.

12752 San Jose Boulevard
Jacksonville,
FL
US

Freedom Boat Club first set sail in 1989 from a single site in Sarasota, Florida, and today, has grown to 60 locations throughout the United States. A simple alternative to boat ownership, the club grants its members access to a large fleet of vessels while eliminating boating's many hassles, such as cleaning, storage, and purchasing the naming rights to S.S. Minnow. At each club location, members have fully fueled deck boats, fishing boats, pontoons, and cruisers at their disposal, which they may utilize for any number of adventures. They can simply cruise around local waters, coast to entertainment destinations, or plan snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing trips with groups of friends.

12807 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville,
FL
US

Named after its 2003 42-foot Manta catamaran, Now and Zen Charters whisks its guests on day cruises and sailing vacations at several scenic Florida sites. While cruising the waters around Miami and Biscayne Bay, clients take advantage of luxurious onboard amenities both inside and in the open air. Be they seated on the trampolines, bow seats, in the salon, or in the sling seat, they enjoy an easy ride thanks to a sturdy 21-foot beam while listening to tunes on a four-speaker stereo system.

2 INDEPENDENT DR
JACKSONVILLE,
FL
US

Once a support vessel that transported oil-rig workers around the Gulf of Mexico, the 100-foot-long Pastime Princess now takes up to 75 anglers on deep-sea fishing trips between 11 and 23 miles off shore. Beyond transporting fishermen into these Atlantic waters, the Pastime Princess maintains guests' comfort with air conditioning, bathrooms cleaned daily, and a galley where chefs prepare a menu of grilled fare. The boat's crew supplies anglers of all skills levels with necessary gear, including bait, and furnishes passengers with fishing licenses. They also clean catches, which guests can tote home or have cooked at Dolphin View Seafood Restaurant upon returning to land. To enhance revelry aboard the boat, hands organize a winner-take-all jackpot for whoever catches the largest edible fish or still-useable mattress. A FAQ page anticipates common questions and lists some recommendations, such as advising anglers to arrive 45 minutes before departure and to bring coolers no larger than 20 inches.

107 N Riverside Dr.
New Smyrna Beach,
FL
US

At Daytona Beach Parasail, flightless humans can highlight day trips to Daytona Beach with a parasail adventure. After taking off from the flight deck of a boat piloted by a USCG-licensed captain, customers soar 2,000 feet in the air, which is the perfect height for catching scenic glimpses of the world-famous shoreline. No previous knowledge of parasailing is required. The entire excursion takes about 45 minutes, which includes the boat trip out and back. Single flights last about 8 minutes; customers can team up with Groupon-bearing friends for a tandem flight, which will keep them floating for 14–16 minutes. Pack your camera if you want a friend to snap pictures of your airborne antics. Ferry customers receive free shuttle service to and from the boat.

4936 S Peninsula Dr
Ponce Inlet,
FL
US